The College of Science is grateful to UNT Distinguished Alumnus Bruzzy Westheimer for funding the new Westheimer Science Research Fellows program, specifically designed to support undergraduate research in UNT Mathematics' brand-new Statistician Lab. Dean Gao is hopeful that this influential gift will inspire other philanthropists to consider funding similar programs that aim to strengthen the research abilities of departments and institutes within the College while enhancing the learning experiences of math and science students at UNT.
UNT professor and researcher Dr. Xuexia Wang has been selected at the first Westheimer faculty fellow, and over the course of the next two years, she will mentor a total of four student fellows. Her current biostatistics research work in the lab focuses on genetic sequences in cancer patients to predict individual reactions to cancer treatments. Dr. Wang believes there is ample potential for broader applications in medical advancement and the treatment of disease and illness.
For Bruzzy, the Fellows Program is personal because it supports the Statistician Lab and Dr. Wang's research in the field of cancer research. "When I read that the research being done here directly supports the institutional knowledge of pediatric cancer, I was all in," said Bruzzy at a celebratory signing event hosted by the College last week. Bruzzy was recently diagnosed with a rare form of cancer and understands the importance of the research happening in the Statistician Lab.
The program will focus on education and research, but also help students prepare for real-life challenges by allowing them to work one-on-one with faculty to receive personal coaching and develop collaborative relationships that will help them grow both as strong individuals and confident scientists in their field.
"I've given scholarships to college students for about 40 years, and one thing I've learned is how important it is to encourage the students to utilize what they've learned in college in the real world," said Bruzzy. "The most important part to me is that everything goes back to helping students succeed."
To learn more about the breakthrough research happening in the UNT Mathematics Department, visit https://math.unt.edu.To discuss supporting scholarships or funding one of our many dynamic research initiatives, please contact our Development Officer Meghan Dours.